Today, religion gets beaten up in the world of rational thinkers because of what it has become. Religion has become a matter of blind faith upon doctrines, without the slightest bit of rational intervention. And that, my friend, is called religious orthodoxy, which, though being related to the term “religion”, has, in reality, nothing to do with true religion. The religion that I advocate, and so did the mortal humans known as Jesus, Buddha and Nanak, is the religion of love, compassion and self-realization. I don’t want to take away anybody’s religion, but simply to make them see what religion really means.
You need to find the highest form of divinity within yourself, not in any book, creed or institution. That is the true essence of religion, which, unfortunately, we see nowhere in today’s world. And from this standpoint of true religion, the atheists are a billion times more religious than all the blind “orthodogs”. Religion, in the world of thinking humans should be compatible with reasoning and progress. Any religion that impedes in the progress and rational thinking of the human society, is no religion at all.
“Progress” sounds like a fascinating word to be proud of, yet it comes at a price. A price that most of the human society is often unwilling to pay. It is the price of all bigotry, prejudices and barbarian practices. Without sacrificing these primitive tenets of human character, there cannot be any true progress or any true religion. True progress begins with the recognition of your innate evil. Only after recognizing those evil elements of your mind, you can take action towards having a healthy conscientious control over them. It is this control that distinguishes a civilized human, from the primitive cave-people.
As I have said in my book “We Are All Black: A Treatise on Racism”
“Good and evil are both fundamental features of the human mind.”
In a civilized human the good outweighs the evil, whereas in a primitive human, the evil outweighs the good. And one of the most disgraceful and evil tenets of the human mind is today’s so-called religion – i.e. religious orthodoxy. Orthodoxy is the biggest obstacle in the path of peace, progress and wellbeing of the society. Take away religious orthodoxy and all the violence in the name of religion and God shall disappear for good. In the face of rigorous rational arguments, any man or woman who, out of blind faith, consistently keeps saying, his or her dear scripture has all the answers in the universe, is either suffering from delusional disorder or simply an idiot. A creature that does not have the basic mental faculty of reasoning, is not worth the title “human”.
Here one may confuse orthodoxy with traditions. So, I must make it clear, that you should not confuse traditions with orthodoxy. Traditions can be both healthy and harmful. By choosing not to eliminate the traditions that over time tend to become a harmful impediment in the path of progress, one leans towards orthodoxy, that ultimately drives a people back to the stone-age. Various traditions of various cultures throughout the world make the human species filled with colors. But these traditions must keep evolving through adoption of new practices and elimination of the useless ones, based on the needs of the time. Either one evolves or gets extinct – this is the principal law of Mother Nature.
So, here one may wonder, how can we eliminate the evil tradition of religious orthodoxy, and turn religion into a progressive endeavor of the progressive society! It will not happen by engaging yourself in a worthless debate with the intellectual idiots of religious orthodoxy, as you may think. Because those idiots do not have the cognitive capacity to recognize any rational argument against their dear doctrines. The real answer lies in you – or to be specific, your children. The transformation from a primitive, orthodox society into a real civilized society, can only begin with your children. This means, that your children shall determine the fate of the human society. They shall determine whether religious orthodoxy will keep on prevailing throughout the world, or conscience triumphs over all evil. Hence, it is in your hands, to shape their minds to become real civilized humans of a progressive, loving and conscientious world. Teach your children – “there is no religion better than love, no color better than the color of happiness and no language better than the language of compassion” (quote from my memoir “Love, God & Neurons”). Once you do that, rest assured, the world will become free from all sorts of prejudices.
Orthodoxy, bigotry, prejudices – these primitive traits only lead to chaos and destruction of all humanity. Hence, it is your existential responsibility to raise your child as a human being above everything else – catholic, muslim, jew, asian, caucasian or whatever. These human beings shall determine the fate of humanity. Remember, orthodoxy has no place in a world of civilized humans. We are not medieval monsters any more, we are civilized beings, and as such our most priced possession is our rational thinking, not mindless orthodoxy.
No tradition is greater than the mental and physical progress of the human society. However, traditions do indeed add value to the survival of a culture, but they must be scrutinized by each generation of that culture in order to get rid of the useless and harmful elements. Traditions that advocate bigotry, misogyny, racism, and fundamentalism, must be thrown away at ones by the responsible, civilized and conscientious beings of a culture. Then only they shall be qualified to be deemed as humans. Remember, no being is a human unless it elicits a character of courage, conscience, compassion and reasoning.
(Simultaneously Published on Goodreads)
It is the consensus of the general population that Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system. However, in reality, it is far more beautiful than just that. Saying Neuroscience is the field of studying the nervous system, is like saying the Hulk is a man who opens a tin can with his bare hands.
Neuroscience is the science that reveals every single element of the existential nature of human mind, or simply mind, in a broader aspect. And one who understands the mind becomes a better version of himself or herself. Neuroscience – the science of mind, reveals to us, who we are – what we are – why we are. It gives answers to questions that have haunted humanity since the days in the wildness. We neuroscientists discover the truths that take the human self closer to absolution.
To quote from my book “Love, God & Neurons: Memoir of a scientist who found himself by getting lost”
“We gain from the new science of mind not only insights into ourselves – how we perceive, learn, remember, feel, believe and act – but also a new perspective of ourselves and our fellow human beings in the context of biological evolution.”
The most intriguingly unique feature of Neuroscience, is that here the mind attempts to study itself. Hence, Neural Science is the endeavor of the mind to understand itself. However, like all other fields of scientific endeavor, it cannot work alone. To fully manifest its true potential, Neuroscience often joins hands with other sciences, especially other biological sciences such as evolutionary biology, molecular biology, genetics etc. Through this beautiful collaboration, we get a more complete and solid understanding of the mind. That is why for a scientist in any field, it is imperative to know by heart, that he or she cannot proceed a single step in the path of scientific research with the arrogant idea in the head that his or her own field is the greatest of all sciences.
To become a scientist, you must learn to be humble in front of other fields of science while defending the dignity of your own. A Physicist’s insight of the universe would be much grander than a biologist, and at the same time, a biologist’s insight of life would much grander than a physicist. No scientist in one field is greater than another scientist in another field. Each field of science offers us a unique and deeper perspective on a certain phenomenon of life and universe. Each field of science completes the other.
However, the harsh reality of today’s society is that the Physicists get most of the attention from the general population. And behind this attention, or rather attraction, lies a deeper evolutionary reason. Modern Physics has a certain air of mystery and sophistication around it, which stimulates people’s primeval affinity towards ignorance-driven mysticism. Which means, the less people understand a certain phenomenon, the more they are attracted to it. And that is why almost everybody on planet earth knows about Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, but very few people in the non-scholar population have heard of Leonhard Euler, Joseph Breuer and Gottfried Leibneiz.
Science is the human endeavor to elevate the self and the society from the darkness of ignorance into the light of wisdom. Sophistication is not science people, simplicity is. Science does not complicate things, rather it eases the predominant complications of the society. Science demystifies the mysticism that holds on to the psyche of the human society like a virus. Science is the most effective, efficient and magnificent path that leads towards the salvation of humankind.
(Simultaneously Published on Goodreads.)
“The Church has carried out some of the most inhuman and above all un-Christian acts of human history, yet, it is still gloriously hailed by the majority of human population as to be synonymous with Jesus Christ.” – Neurons of Jesus: Mind of A Teacher, Spouse & Thinker
You have heard countless times from me, that Religion is not a book, it is not an institution, and it is not even a person. True Religion is realization of the self. The Bible, the Quran, the Vedas and all the scriptures in the world are mere inventions of man (not woman) in the pursuit of understanding the self, and to some extent, in the pursuit of authoritarianism. Scriptures from the past have nothing to do with the neurologically created and experienced sensation of divinity and religion. However, all the books which humanity so gloriously worships as sacred, attempt to codify the divinity that is born with the human body and dies with it. This divinity or simply religion is born with the self created by the brain and ceases to exist when the self dies upon the death of the brain.
Religions began as realization of the self, but ended up being retaliation against each other. A handful of individuals in human history, empowered by their own neurons of divinity, experienced something quite extraordinary. They experienced something beyond this mortal world. They experienced being one with an Omnipotent Entity or Abstract Source of Energy. Despite the fact that, these experiences were all taking place exclusively within their own brain, they manifested as extraterrestrial encounters. Hence, the pre-conceived notion of Supreme Entity somewhere up in the sky, got more deep-rooted into the psyche of the ignorant masses.
When a person lacks understanding of the physical universe, and its phenomena, the primordial nature of the mind is to fill in the gaps with all kinds of gibberish concepts that originally come from our primitive days in the wild. And one of these concepts is that, there is a superhuman entity somewhere out there, who keeps an eye on us. That is the most natural knack of the primitive part of the mind. Because here, by believing so, we are psychologically entrusting an imaginary father figure (or mother figure in some religious beliefs, such as the Hindus) with our security and peace of mind. It does act as a placebo effect, but unlike the placebo pills used in our clinical trials, this placebo effect of a father figure or a personal God, has immense biological impact upon all aspects of human life, through the neurobiological substrates of the mind.
In simple terms, when a person believes that a God is truly concerned about the well-being of life on earth, and especially of human life, the belief adorns that person with various positive psychological elements such as emotional stability, in times of distress and a highly functional moral compass. Here this belief has nothing to do with reality whatsoever, rather it serves the evolutionary purpose of self-preservation.
However, if history has shown anything, it is that where there is a God, there is an institution trying to lock up that God in its lifeless structure of orthodoxy, in order to have authority over people and sell tickets to the Kingdom of that God. Thus emerged all the pompous lies about the extraterrestrial Kingdom of God or Heaven. To quote from my book “Neurons of Jesus”
“By infusing Jesus the man with the divine magic – by making him capable of earthly miracles as well as his own resurrection, the early church turned him into a god within the human world. Thus, the church reinforced the monopoly on the so-called route to heaven, i.e. salvation only through Jesus Christ. And during those days, whoever kept the keys to heaven would rule the world. “
This way, religion became politics. It became everything but realization of the self. It became a matter of doctrines, books, hierarchy and superiority of institutions. Hence, today the majority of the human population, perceives religion to be synonymous with certain books. And that is why there are so many conflicts in the name of religion and God in this so-called modern world.
A Christian would ask you to believe in the Bible, to believe that the Bible contains divine irrefutable commands from God. A Muslim would ask you to believe in the Quran, to believe that the Quran contains glorious messages from God or Allah. A Hindu would ask you to believe in the Bhagavad Gita, to believe that the Gita contains answers to all your problems given by God or Brahman. Thus, a religion becomes merely a matter of blind faith upon texts of the dead people. Hence, no religion can maintain a healthy relationship with another for a long time.
To quote from my book “In Search of Divinity: Journey to The Kingdom of Conscience”
“It is not much use to talk about religion, until one has felt what the founding fathers felt. Why is there so much disturbance, so much fighting and quarreling in the name of God? There has been more bloodshed in the name of God than for any other cause. And it is all because people never attempt to reach the fountain-head. They are content only to comply with the customs of their forefathers, and want others to do the same.”
The point is, what the individuals, whom humanity venerates as prophets, experienced was something beyond the laws of their contemporary religious dogma, and as such, all of these individuals were hailed by the religious institutions of their time and society, as heretics. However, their ideas did indeed succeed to influence a bunch of people stuck in obscurity. So these people embraced these individuals as their own personal Gods, and in the mind of those ignorant people, every God must be worshipped with utter obedience. And their way of showing obedience was to concoct laws and rituals to ascertain the divine significance of their personal God in the spiritual patriarchy of religious prophets. Thus, obedience for one divine Teacher, turned into obedience for a God. And in time, it turned into obedience for a set of laws. And quite unexpectedly, one person’s battle against religious orthodoxy or fundamentalism, led to the birth of yet another orthodox circle. This happened at various corners of the world in various circumstances.
In Asia, Buddha, a Hindu, stood up against the orthodox Hindu society, and ended up constructing yet another religion called Buddhism. And on the other side of the world, Jesus, a Jew, stood up against the orthodox Jewish society, and ended up being the personal God of yet another religion called Christianity.
(This Article was originally published on Goodreads, under the title “Religion, Prophets & Politics.”)
People often ask me, what my religion is. My answer to them is, I am a Christian to the Christian, a Jew to the Jew, a Muslim to the Muslim, a Hindu to the Hindu and an Atheist to the Atheist. There is nothing wrong or unscientific or primitive about being a religious person. In fact, we neuroscientists have shown with countless experiments that in daily life, religious rituals such as engaging prayers, aid in sustaining mental as well as physical health. But the problem with religion, in the way it is perceived in today’s world, is that, it is more of a matter of theoretical indoctrination than actual realization of divinity within the self. And that’s where religion becomes dangerous.
A religious individual may most gloriously carry out his or her own rituals, as a part of his or her cultural identity, but the moment, that person starts to build a wall of separation between the self and the rest of humanity, coaxed by the textual commands of a scripture, the healthy religiousness turns into dangerous fundamentalism, which is a threat to both the self and the society. That is why, I am a relative of both the religious and the atheist portions of the society, but the brightest nightmare to the fundamentalists. Fundamentalism has nothing to do with modern civilization. And indeed, it has nothing to do with religion. And if it does fester in any corner of the world, it is the responsibility of the conscientious people of that society to rise against such barbarianism and uproot it before it grabs onto the psyche of a broader audience.
Religious fundamentalism advocates homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, polygamy and many other primitive evils. Can you imagine, somebody telling you, your love for your dearly beloved is a sin! Can you imagine, somebody telling you, women are inferior to men, and are meant only serve the men! Can you imagine, somebody telling you, a man can have multiple wives, and yet be deemed civilized! Here that somebody is a fundamentalist – a theoretical pest from the stone-age, who somehow managed to survive even amidst all the rise of reasoning and intellect. Such a creature with no modern mental faculty whatsoever, knows nothing beyond the words of a book, written hundreds or thousands of years ago, when ignorance was the default mode of thinking in the society. It does not only believe every single word of a book to be literally true, but puts all its efforts to convince others to believe the same. This way, it would be an understatement to say, such is a worthless creature. In reality, such a creature can cause a catastrophic contagion in a society, especially if that society is already going through socio-political turmoil. In a society, where people most progressively practice rational thinking, no fundamentalist pest can infect their psyche. But if the people are already boiling with rage, then such minds are more vulnerable to fundamentalist contagion. Thus emerge Jihadis or Holy Warriors. Here let me quote from my book “The Islamophobic Civilization: Voyage of Acceptance”, to show you, what goes on inside the brain of a holy warrior.
“Inside a jihadi brain, the neuropsychological elements of aggression and rage run rampant, due to socio-political conditions. These overwhelming mental elements of young souls, when attached to the sacred texts of the Quran, by the authoritarian groups of fundamentalists, become weapons of mass destruction in the pursuit of the exclusive supremacy of one religion over the others.”
To get rid of religious terrorism, it is not enough to kill a bunch of Jihadis, even though it may be morally justified to do so, for saving humanity from their wrath. Jihad or Holy war would keep festering one way or another, until religious fundamentalism is eradicated from the human society. Until the whole humanity learns to scrutinize its most revered scriptures with the sharp tool of reasoning, Jihad will keep on striking over the world. If one does not have the basic conscientious capacity to refute the primitive textual verses of the scriptures that demand one to kill or torture another being for holding a different belief system than one’s own, then that entity is no being of the civilized human society. No Quran, no Bible, no Gita, no Cow, is greater than the human self. There shall be hope for harmony and peace in the world, only when fundamentalism is destroyed forever. Harmony is not a luxury, it is an existential necessity of the species. And to achieve it, if a hundred Bibles have to be sacrificed, then be it. But for no Bible, Quran or Gita, can harmony be compromised.
The point is, being a Christian does not mean hating or belittling the non-Christians. Being a Muslim does not mean hating or belittling the non-Muslims. Being an Atheist does not mean hating or belittling the religious people. In a civilized society, diversity in religious orientation should be the reason for celebration, not the cause for hatred and differentiation. Some people like baseball, some soccer and some others like no sports at all. Their psychological orientation with sports doesn’t make them any less or more human. The same is with religious orientation. The true Kingdom of God is within you, and it is defined by your behavior with other people, regardless of their religious affiliation. You are the God of your life, and your divinity lies in your actions. And once you realize this, it will dawn on you that, all religions are mere external echoes of humankind’s internal divinity. Remember, divinity is goodness, and goodness is godliness. There is nothing higher than this. There is no greater religion than this.
(Simultaneously published on Goodreads.)
Islam – is it a religion of peace or of violence? This is a question that torments the entire human society. But just because it is correlated with over-exaggerated discussions and debates, does not mean that the question itself is a genuine one. Let me put it this way – Islam is a religion of course, but neither of peace nor of violence. It is a religion like any other religion, that provides a psychological bedrock of baseline cultural identity and individuality to its people. But it is the actions of these people that should be accounted for to define whether the religion “Islam” is a religion of peace or of violence, instead of judging it based on the scripture Quran. Books are no measure for judgement in the society of thinking humanity. It is the actions of the people that counts, nothing else.
Here you must remember, the so-called Jihadis who are in reality, mentally unstable individuals run by Quranic fundamentalists, do not represent the whole Muslim population of the world. Muslims are just as peace-loving as the Christians, Hindus, Jews or Buddhists. Terrorism has nothing to do with religion, Islam or otherwise. Terrorism is born of fundamentalism not of religion.
Peace and Violence are both biological traits of humans as well as the entire animal kingdom. And since humans are the only species capable of creating literatures, it should not be surprising that these literatures would have the same blend of peace and violence, or simply, good and evil, that the human character possesses. And these literatures include all the scriptures in the world. As such, they are not immune to the innate evil of the human psyche. In fact, since these scriptures are the product of a time when ignorance and barbarianism ran rampant in the human society, it is more reason, for evil traits to appear on their pages alongside the goodness that they teach.
Like all human literatures the Islamic literature, the Quran and the Hadith, were also human creation. No Allah or God had anything to with them. They arose from the minds of the humans. The Quranic messages were born from the mind of supposedly the man named Mohammed in a state of transcendence. This state of mind is an extraordinary one, with such unique elements that often leave the smartest individuals baffled. And Mohammed was no smart man, like say, Albert Einstein or James Watson. He was an ordinary man of his time, who attained the state of transcendence during his daily prayers in a mountain cave. And in that state of transcendence his mind gave rise to all the revelations, both good and bad, that later collectively became known as the Holy Quran. Hence, it is the reader who must distinguish the good from the bad, if he or she is to remain a genuine part of the civilized society.
Let me bring up an excerpt from my book “The Islamophobic Civilization: Voyage of Acceptance” to shed further light on this matter.
“Think of the bloodshed there has been in consequence of some of the Quranic doctrines that literally command to kill the infidels if they do not become Muslims! Think of the textual creeds that teach, a man who does not believe all the teachings of Quran should be killed and it is a mercy to kill him! The one ultimate rule of the Quranic fundamentalists is “there is one God and Mohammed is his prophet”. Everything beyond that not only is bad, but must be destroyed forthwith. At moment’s notice, every man or woman, who does not exactly believe in that, must be killed. Everything that does not belong to this set of ideals must be killed.”
And because of such barbarian actions of the Quranic fundamentalists, many atheists, including my dear friends and colleagues Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris quite naively want to turn every single religious person on earth into an atheist, which by the way, is a great and progressive notion, but I am afraid, it biologically, or to be more specific neurologically, is an impractical idea. Religion itself is a neurological phenomenon which evolved in the human mind to act as an aid in daily life. Which means, Mother Nature selected it as a neuropsychological feature for the humans in the path of survival. Hence, no individual has the power to take such natural trait away from the human mind, unless Natural Selection gives consent. Therefore, it is more practical to make people transform their mindset about religion and religiousness and walk in the path of creed-less religious harmony, than to convert the entire religious population on earth into atheists.
All we need to do, is to turn human actions into a measure of judgement for religions, instead of some old books. Once we successfully do this, eventually we will be able to build a world where the human self shall be the Alpha and the Omega of the society, not a God self of some old books. In fact, the God self depicted in those books, was nothing but the transcendental manifestation of the human self. Which means, the God of humanity is, in actuality, human, or to be more accurate, man himself. Men in different times went into transcendence and quite unintentionally, due to neurological reasons (refer to “Autobiography of God: Biopsy of A Cognitive Reality”), mistook the messages rising from their own mind as revelations coming from an external divine realm. Thus, all revelations of all scriptures are the creations of the human mind, not of God.
Now tell me, do you still hail those texts as irrefutable? Do you still think that you are ought to follow every single word of those scriptures with a blind eye? Don’t you think that it is the existential responsibility of a civilized human being to measure those texts, as they have such a blinding impact upon the society, with your own rational mind?
Progress of the human society is predicated upon the proper functioning of a key element of the human mind, that is reasoning. Without this mental element we would no longer be a civilized species. And when reasoning runs pure in the heart of the humans, no book has the power to compel them to fight among each other in the name of religion or paradise. Remember, reasoning is the cure for superstitions and bigotry. Once reasoning reigns, love and acceptance become the religion, and hatred and dogmatism become a matter of ancient history.
(This Article was originally published on Goodreads.)
Abhijit Naskar, 2016, Autobiography of God: Biopsy of A Cognitive Reality
Abhijit Naskar, 2016, In Search of Divinity: Journey to The Kingdom of Conscience
Abhijit Naskar, 2017, The Islamophobic Civilization: Voyage of Acceptance
Motion Picture – it can be a great tool to inspire and shape the thinking of the masses, yet the harsh reality of the so-called modern society is that, most of the films that are made today have not the slightest bit of nutritious food for the mind, rather it is all a cocktail of various cheap stimuli. They can, if they want, make movies of great taste, capable of getting inside the head, or rather the heart of the people, and make them feel sentiments of utter significance both in the paths of individual and social progress, yet they choose not to. And their excuse for not making such movies is that, they do not sell – their excuse is that, people won’t go to the theaters to watch an inspirational and thought-provoking movie – their excuse is that, people want entertainment, not philosophy!
However, regardless of such petty notion about film-making, there are some true filmmakers, who give their heart and soul to make movies that are most incredible in their ability to touch the heart as well as the brains of the masses. A Film has the potential to kindle such a spark of inspiration in an individual that it can alter the course of human progress. Today the thinker whom you know as Naskar, had his inspiration from not only the world of science and philosophy, but also from the world of motion-picture. Back in the years, when I was in the pursuit of recognizing my real self, movies did not only fuel that pursuit to some extent, but also, they taught me to speak languages other than my mother-tongue Bengali, such as English, Telugu and others.
The reality is, films that are made solely to sell, instead of touching the conscience of the masses, feed on the ignorance and confusions of the people, on the other hand, films that are created to both inspire and entertain at a deeper level, are more likely to have fewer audience. But remember this, my dear film-maker, the few viewers that your film receives because of being more inspiring and less entertaining, have the potential to shape their society in the line of the idea conveyed by you. Now you choose, my dear friend, what kind of society you wish to have – a society full of dumb manikins who love nothing more than pure, pedestrian entertainment, or a society where the very term entertainment is defined by the message conveyed by your film. A film with no message, is a film of no value in the society of civilized humans. You can tell the level of intellect and advancement of a nation, by the kind of movies its citizens watch.
A society does not stay dumb because of its dumb co-called political leaders, but because of those large number of creative individuals with great public outreach, such as film-makers, actors, music composers, singers, and others, who are more interested in increasing their fan-following than shaping the mind of their preexisting followers with their work towards a progressive future. There is a difference between healthy entertainment and cheap, pedestrian entertainment. And unfortunately, most of today’s film-makers are inclined towards the later instead of the former, especially in the developing countries. In fact, to these directors, the only entertainment that there is, is the pedestrian entertainment – and as for the healthy entertainment, it is apparently a myth that is less likely to receive a broader audience.
So, now let’s try to understand, what the heck is healthy entertainment! Healthy entertainment is a beautiful blend of stimuli that can connect with the viewer at a sentimental level, then sow the seeds of a certain idea or feed the mind with inspiration and courage. In short, healthy entertainment does not evoke raw emotions in the mind of a viewer only to make them wreak havoc, rather it guides those emotions in a healthy direction. This leads to not only an entertained viewer, but also an inspired soul. And that should be the purpose of film-making, and indeed the entire entertainment industry, rather than feeding the general population with garbage. Remember – Entertain, but also, give the viewer something to think about. Without an underlying message to think about, there is no difference between going to the movie-theater and going to the bar.
(Simultaneously Published on Goodreads.)